Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 6:20 a.m. EST
STOLEN SALVATION ARMY KETTLES
Salvation Army worried thieves might use stolen red kettles
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) – The Salvation Army is concerned that thieves who stole several donation kettles in North Carolina may try to pose as legitimate bell ringers.
News outlets report six red kettles, bells and aprons went missing from various locations Monday in Winston-Salem.
Salvation Army area commander Maj. Jim Rickard told WGHP-TV he can only envision the thieves using the kettles to “hoodoo the public and get somebody to donate to them.”
The charity’s goal this year is to raise $150 million through the red kettle campaign, which typically makes up 10% of its annual budget. Donations fund programs providing housing, food and other support to people in poverty.
Rickard says Salvation Army volunteers do not seek donations on Sundays and Thanksgiving Day. They regularly seek ring bells until around 8 p.m. and their buckets are labeled with Salvation Army stickers.
Health officials report 1 flu death for previous week
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina has recorded another flu-related death, bringing the total so far this season to three.
Records from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services show the most recent death was reported last week. The state did not provide any identifying information.
The current flu season began Oct. 29 and runs through May 26.
The state logged more than 200 flu-related deaths last season, more than half were people age 65 and older.
CONFEDERATE MONUMENTS-NORTH CAROLINA
Legal settlement will keep Confederate statue off UNC campus
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – The University of North Carolina has agreed to hand over a felled Confederate monument to a group in a legal agreement that will ensure it doesn’t return to campus.
The University of North Carolina System said in a news release Wednesday that a judge approved a settlement concerning the “Silent Sam” statue. The settlement will leave the monument in the hands of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, which will keep the monument outside the 14 counties where there are university system campuses.
The university system says the settlement complies with a North Carolina state law restricting the removal of Confederate monuments.
“Silent Sam” stood in a main quad for more than a century before it was torn down in 2018 by protesters who called it a racist symbol.
FATAL SHOOTING-MARINE DESERTER
Marshals capture Marine deserter charged in murder case
(Information from: WDBJ-TV, http://www.wdbj7.com/)
ROANOKE, Va. (AP) – A U.S. marshal says a Marine deserter wanted in a fatal shooting has been arrested in Virginia after a lengthy search.
Brad Sellers is the acting U.S. marshal for the Western District of Virginia. He tells The Roanoke Times that 22-year-old Michael Brown was safely taken into custody Wednesday morning in Franklin County.
Brown is charged with second-degree murder in the Nov. 9 killing of a man described as his mother’s boyfriend. According to a criminal complaint, Brown’s mother told police her son was the shooter.
Authorities have said Brown deserted his post at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina.
A reported sighting of Brown earlier this month prompted schools to close in Roanoke, and residents were ordered to shelter in place.
A news conference was expected later Wednesday morning.
Police: Couple staged store robbery, then bought rings
MORGANTON, N.C. (AP) – Police say a convenience store clerk staged a robbery with her boyfriend at the business, bought rings hours later and took video of their engagement at a Walmart.
The Morganton, North Carolina, Department of Public safety issued a news release saying Callie Elizabeth Carswell reported that a suspect had stolen nearly $3,000 from the convenience store Monday.
Investigators say they noticed discrepancies with her story and discovered it was her boyfriend who entered the store demanding money. Authorities searched her phone and found video of them getting engaged at Walmart early the next morning.
Carswell and Clarence William Moore were both charged with robbery-related counts.
According to The News Herald, Carswell said outside of court Tuesday that she wasn’t involved in the robbery plan.
Schools help refugee kids learn English, adapt to US life
PHOENIX (AP) – At so-called newcomer schools, children from around the world are learning English skills and American classroom customs they need to succeed.
In Phoenix, students from Myanmar, Eritrea, Indonesia, Afghanistan, Cuba and other countries have attended Valencia Newcomer School since fall 2018. They get an extra year of attention before transferring to mainstream schools.
This year’s kindergarten through eighth-grade students come from 21 countries and speak 15 languages.
Valencia is among a handful of U.S. public schools dedicated to helping some of the thousands of children who arrive in the country every year.
It comes as the Trump administration has proposed pushing down the annual cap for refugees to a historic low of 18,000. No refugees were settled in the U.S. last month.
Doctor charged with bogus prescriptions to get wife pills
ABINGDON, Va. (AP) – A North Carolina doctor has been charged with writing bogus pain prescriptions in Virginia and then reimbursing patients to share pills with his wife.
A news release from Virginia-based federal prosecutors said 56-year-old David Francis Lelio and 50-year-old Nadja Siiri Kujanson-Lelio of Charlotte, North Carolina, were each charged with one count of conspiracy to distribute oxycodone. David Lelio was also charged with making a false statement.
Prosecutors say that between 2016 and 2019 David Lelio wrote more than 60 prescriptions without a medical purpose, including some for Virginia patients. Authorities say he wrote the prescriptions in his patients’ names with the understanding that some of the medicine would be shared with his wife and that reimbursed patients for the prescriptions.
Defense lawyer Daniel Zamora declined to comment.
NC Senate majority leader Brown won’t seek 9th term
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – The majority leader of the North Carolina State Senate says he will not seek re-election.
A letter from Senate Leader Phil Berger’s office on Wednesday says Onslow County Republican Sen. Harry Brown announced on a radio show this week that he felt it’s the appropriate time to focus on his family and his businesses.
Brown said that with the completion of Onslow County School’s regional skills center and North Carolina’s tax climate being one of the best in the nation, “I felt it was time to check off the last goal, so to say.”
The eight-term lawmaker has been the lead budget writer in the Senate since 2014. Berger credited Brown’s leadership for expanded opportunities for rural communities through access to broadband and the Needs-Based Public School Capital Fund.